THE NEW YORK TIMES
As U.S. Leaves Allies in Syria, Kurdish Commander Struggles With Fallout
QAMISHLI, Syria — As United States troops continued their withdrawal from Syria on Sunday, a line of cars carried their routed former allies, terrified civilians and dead bodies out of a pulverized border town that had been besieged by Turkish forces for more than a week.
Away from the front lines where the Turks might assassinate him, the Kurdish leader of the Syrian force that once helped America battle the Islamic State, and that has now been abandoned by the Trump administration, looked drained from 10 days of battle and geopolitical struggle over his people’s fate.
The Syrian government wants to reclaim territory that Mr. Kobani’s forces control and has sent troops to keep the Turks from advancing. Russia has stepped in to broker deals. Turkey has dispatched Syrian militias to take territory. And the Trump administration announced a cease-fire deal last week that would allow Turkey to establish a so-called “safe zone” in Syria where it hopes to resettle Syrian refugees.
Despite Litany of Failures, Boris Johnson Is in Striking Distance of Brexit Success
LONDON — He suspended Parliament and was rebuked by Britain’s top court. He purged his party and lost a string of votes. After trying to strong-arm lawmakers into supporting his new Brexit plan, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced to ask for a delay for withdrawal from the European Union, a request he had vowed never to make.
Yet, while this litany of failures should be spectacularly good news for opponents of Brexit, who came out in huge crowds onto the streets of London on Saturday, Mr. Johnson still has a surprisingly good chance of leading Britain out of the bloc.
Mr. Johnson is not just still in the game, despite a remarkable succession of miscalculations, but he is also within striking distance of a majority vote in Parliament for his Brexit plan. The foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, predicted on Sunday that the government proposal would pass.
U.S. Is Quietly Reducing Its Troop Force in Afghanistan
KABUL, Afghanistan — The United States is already reducing the size of its troop force in Afghanistan despite the lack of a peace deal with the Taliban, at a time when President Trump has expressed reluctance to remain engaged in costly wars abroad.
In a news conference on Monday, the top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Austin S. Miller, confirmed that the size of the American force in the country had already quietly dropped by 2,000 over the last year, down to roughly 12,000.
Other American and Afghan officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss details of the plan, said that the eventual force size could drop to as low as 8,600 — roughly the size of an initial reduction envisioned in a draft agreement with the Taliban before Mr. Trump halted peace talks last month. Rather than a formal withdrawal order, they are reducing the force through a gradual process of not replacing troops as they cycle out.
Julian Assange extradition judge refuses request for delay
At a case management hearing at Westminster magistrates court, Assange’s legal team requested a longer period to submit evidence and claimed the charges against him were politically motivated.
After the defence and prosecution clashed over the timetabling of the case, the district judge Vanessa Baraitser refused to grant more time to gather evidence and told Assange his next case management hearing would take place on 19 December and there would be a full extradition hearing in February.
World economy is sleepwalking into a new financial crisis, warns Mervyn King
“Another economic and financial crisis would be devastating to the legitimacy of a democratic market system,” he said. “By sticking to the new orthodoxy of monetary policy and pretending that we have made the banking system safe, we are sleepwalking towards that crisis.”
The former Bank governor said the economic and political climate had rarely been so fraught, citing the US-China trade war, riots in Hong Kong, problems in key emerging countries such as Argentina and Turkey, the growing tensions between France and Germany over the future direction of the euro, and the increasingly bitter political conflict in the US at a time when the willingness of the US to act as the world’s policeman was disappearing.
Renewable energy to expand by 50% in next five years - report
The International Energy Agency (IEA) found that solar, wind and hydropower projects are rolling out at their fastest rate in four years.
Its latest report predicts that by 2024 a new dawn for cheap solar power could see the world’s solar capacity grow by 600GW, almost double the installed total electricity capacity of Japan. Overall, renewable electricity is expected to grow by 1,200GW in the next five years, the equivalent of the total electricity capacity of the US.
“This is a pivotal time for renewable energy,” said the IEA’s executive director, Fatih Birol. “Technologies such as solar photovoltaics (PV) and wind are at the heart of transformations taking place across the global energy system. Their increasing deployment is crucial for efforts to tackle greenhouse gas emissions, reduce air pollution, and expand energy access.”
Chile: protests rage as president extends state of emergency
Protests and violence continued in Chile overnight despite the president cancelling a rise in subway fares that prompted violent demonstrations.
Officials in the Santiago region said three people had died in fires at two looted supermarkets early on Sunday. Sixty Walmart-owned outlets were vandalised, and the company said many stores did not open during the day. Five more people were later found dead in the basement of a burned warehouse and were not employees, authorities said.
At least two airlines cancelled or rescheduled flights into the capital, affecting more than 1,400 passengers Sunday and Monday.
“We are at war with a powerful, relentless enemy that respects nothing or anyone and is willing to use violence and crime without any limits,” the president, Sebastián Piñera, said on Sunday in an unscheduled speech from the military headquarters.
Bolivia elections: President Evo Morales may have to face second round
The Andean country’s top electoral authority said on Sunday night that a preliminary count of 84% of the votes showed Morales, who leads the Movement towards Socialism (MAS) party, was ahead with 45.3%, compared to 38.2% for his closest rival, former president, Carlos Mesa. If the results hold, the two men will face off in December and Morales could be vulnerable to a united opposition in the first runoff in his nearly 14 years in power.
Special Afghan combat unit starts operation for TAPI project security
LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- A special combat unit of Afghan security forces has started operation to stabilize Afghanistan's war-ravaged provinces involving a major gas pipeline project, an official said Monday. Construction work of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project in Afghan territory was inaugurated in February 2018. The TAPI pipeline is expected to pass through five Afghan provinces, namely Herat, Farah, Nimroz, Helmand and Kandahar. The project will transfer the natural gas of Turkmenistan to Pakistan and India through Afghanistan.
However, less works has been done in Afghanistan terrain so far as security issue over the construction and maintenance of the line has remained big concerns."The formation of the new security unit is part of government efforts to provide security for the Highway One crossing from Delaram district, Nimroz province to Maiwand district, Kandahar province onward to Greshk district in the neighboring Helmand province," Omar Zwak, Helmand provincial government spokesman, told Xinhua.
Chile extends state of emergency due to protests
SANTIAGO, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- Chile on Sunday extended a state of emergency to regions swept by violent protests, which caused at least three deaths and 716 arrests, authorities said. Chilean President Sebastian Pinera on Friday declared a state of emergency in Santiago, as protesters set metro stations on fire.
The protests, sparked by public transit fare hikes, began in the capital and spread to other regions across the country. The state of emergency is in effect in the capital and other regions of Coquimbo, Valparaiso and Metropolitana. According to a government report, two women died on Saturday when a supermarket was sacked and set on fire in the San Bernardo district of Santiago. The third victim died hours later with no details provided. Also, two protesters were shot by soldiers at a military checkpoint and are reportedly in serious condition.
Bolivian president leads first-round vote, seems headed for runoff
LA PAZ, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- Bolivian incumbent President Evo Morales won the first round of presidential election on Sunday, but appeared unable to avoid a runoff, according to preliminary results. With 83 percent of the votes counted, Morales of the Movement to Socialism party garnered 45 percent of the votes compared with 38 percent for his closest rival and former President Carlos Mesa of the Citizen Community alliance, said the Supreme Electoral Tribunal.
To win outright, Bolivian law requires a candidate to get more than 50 percent of the vote or more than 40 percent of the vote with a 10-percent lead over the nearest rival to avoid a runoff, which will be held on Dec. 15 if there needs to be one. Morales, the country's first indigenous president, took office first in January 2006. If he wins again this time, he will serve an unprecedented fourth five-year term.